Peter Mulvey, Chris Smither, Louise Taylor at the Twice Told

By Victoria Moon

It takes a lot to get people out of their warm houses on a cold and rainy November night to see a music act. That must be obvious to Rick Towles of Twice Told Coffeehouse, because on Sunday, November 2, he put together three acoustic acts to give the audience that gathered at the Guitar Emporium more than three hours of superlative music that was well worth the chilly journey. Louise Taylor, Peter Mulvey and Chris Smither are all fine headlining acts in their own right (Smither and Mulvey have proved this point by playing earlier this year to packed houses at Twice Told), but together the effect was unforgettable.

Taylor has a strong, clear voice that hints of Shawn Colvin crossed with Joan Baez and her guitar work more than held up even when compared to the awe-inspiring acoustic performances of Mulvey and Smither. Smither turned in his usual flawless performance of dark, intelligent blues mixed liberally with his dry sense of humor. Fans of Smither who were present at the show (myself included) were more than satisfied as he played many old favorites from earlier albums and a few from Small Revelations, his latest project.

Mulvey, however, stood out even in this concert of fine performers. His acoustic stylings are reminiscent of the technique and skill of Michael Hedges, and his songs are haunting, bittersweet reflections of love and life. Taylor introduced Mulvey after her set as "the most dynamic performer I have ever heard" as well as giving him the nickname "Mr. Funkadelic," and judging by the audience's reaction, most of his listeners agreed with her assessment.

On the whole, it is a rare night when three performers as good as this gather together, and those who are privileged to be there on such a night know they have experienced something very special and unique.